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Army March 1, 2012
SENIOR Afghan officers from the 205
Corps are learning to lead and manage
their formation with the support of the
205 Coalition Advisory Team (CAT).
Led by Australian Col Richard
Parker, 205 CAT is a combined team of
Australian and US military personnel
tasked with developing Afghan National
Army (ANA) skills, knowledge and
effectiveness at the corps, or division,
level. The team accomplishes this with
daily one-on-one interaction with key
205 Corps ANA staff.
"The team enjoys an excellent work-
ing environment, supports each other
and is focused on achieving the out-
come of a professional and capable 205
Corps through a methodical and dedi-
cated approach to mentoring, advising
and teaching," Col Parker said.
"The opportunity to serve along-
side the US in the development of the
ANA allows varied points of view to be
expressed and we also learn from each
other as well as the Afghans."
Mentor Lt-Col John Carey said
working daily as an adviser involved
many challenges and rewards as the
mentors imparted necessary skills and
knowledge to their Afghan counterparts,
helping them make effective decisions
while allowing Afghan policies and pro-
cedures to work for the Afghans.
"As advisers we must be patient,
enthusiastic and demonstrate interper-
sonal skills," he said.
"There are daily obstacles, but pro-
gress is being made, largely because of
the dedication of the Afghans."
A typical mentoring day begins in
the corps' morning operational briefing
and consists of mentors joining their
Afghan counterparts in meetings with
key leaders and discussing the day's
events and what opportunities may
come from those events.
Col Parker, who mentors 205 Corps
commander Maj-Gen Abdul Hamid,
thinks the learning is a two-way street.
"Maj-Gen Hamid is an experienced
officer, so I am more of a sounding
board and someone he can share ideas
with. It is a great privilege to serve with
him," Col Parker said.
The day-to-day relationship and
mentoring is making marked improve-
ments in the 205 Corps. Over the past
few months the corps' staff have devel-
oped a greater planning capability and
are actively preparing for the 2012
fighting season, including conducting
"We are seeing correspondence pro-
duced on time that gets actions done,"
Col Parker said.
"The CAT is very proud of where
the corps is heading and we are looking
forward to watching this corps become
even more effective in the next six to 12
"Our goal is to make the 205 Corps
the primary military force in the
The 205 Corps area of opera-
tions extends across Kandahar, Zabul,
Uruzgan and Daykundi provinces in
Mentoring at the top
Australians contribute to skills development of high-level Afghan officers from 205 Corps
Sound advice: Col Richard Parker talks with Afghan Maj-Gen Abdul Hamid (inset) as troops of the ANA
205 Corps parade in Kandahar.
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